Legal Blog

Is Recovery While Incarcerated (RWI) For Me?

16 December 2022 | Alcohol,  Drug Charges,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

16 December 2022

Alcohol,  Drug Charges,  

featured blog image

No one chooses to be addicted to drugs. It’s a disease that is difficult to control. Drug addiction can cause people to make bad decisions. Some people who suffer engage in crime and find themselves in legal turmoil. Recovery While Incarcerated (RWI) is a program available to those who are in jail because of their addictions.

What Exactly is RWI?

RWI is a comprehensive drug addiction treatment program coordinated by the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Addiction Recovery Services Division. RWI takes a multi-faceted approach to addiction treatment by partnering with contracted medical services providers. Inmates are provided screening and assessment as well as effective treatment and individualized evidence-based care.

RWI treatment can take between seven and nine months; however, each program is different because it is individualized. Inmates who complete RWI will be able to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and growth towards recovery goals and treatment objectives. Upon meeting the requirements of the program, inmates’ sentences may be reviewed and modified or reduced.

Who Can Qualify

RWI is part of the Purposeful Incarceration (PI) initiative, which is a partnership between the Indiana court system, the Parole Board, and the IDOC. PI is a sentencing recommendation that the court may use for an individual who would benefit from an addiction treatment program.

Ideal candidates for RWI under the PI initiative include:

  • People whose crimes are related to their addiction
  • People who have multiple charges related to their addiction
  • People who have been incarcerated numerous times on addiction related charges
  • People who have been unsuccessful with other substance abuse treatment programs
  • People who have a history of relapse

The court will consider many factors when determining if a person qualifies for RWI. However, it is helpful if your criminal defense attorney requests the program.

Screenings and Assessments

If the court determines that you are a good candidate for RWI, you will complete screenings and assessments to determine the level of care (LOC) that’s right for you. There are three LOCs: residential-level care, intensive outpatient, and outpatient level care. A medical professional will evaluate your needs according to your addiction and risk factors.

What Can I Expect in an RWI Program?

The RWI program has three levels of care that patients may move through to achieve a sentence modification. Although the typical length of the RWI program averages seven to nine months, it can take anywhere from six months to one year to complete.

Residential Level Care (RES)

Residential-level care, or “RES,” is a Sober Living Environment (SLE) where patients can detox and become familiar with drug-free living. It is a 30-day program where the patient remains in residential treatment for active addiction.

People who begin treatment at this level can expect a total of 12 months of RWI. Approximately 10% to 15% of people qualify for this level of care.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

Intensive Outpatient care is a 90-day program that involves lengthy daily treatment, or has sessions nearly every day. Patients in IOP can expect an average of seven months to complete RWI.

Approximately 20% to 25% of people qualify for this LOC.

Outpatient Level Care (OP)

The lowest level of care is Outpatient care, which lasts approximately 90 days. It involves addiction treatment with educational classes, group therapy, and one-on-one counseling. During OP, many people begin integrating into normal life again and learn how to live drug-free.

Approximately 60% to 70% of people will begin at this LOC.

Purposeful Incarceration

PI is an initiative through the Indiana court system designed to minimize drug addiction within communities. Instead of incarcerating people repeatedly for addiction-related charges, Indiana’s goal is to treat the problem and find solutions.

PI is not a treatment through the IDOC. Instead, PI is an initiative that allows people to participate in RWI and obtain a sentence modification if they successfully complete addiction recovery while they are incarcerated. If a person does not complete RWI, then they will not achieve a sentence modification.

PI is not a court order for substance abuse treatment. Inmates may refuse to participate in RWI.

How Hessler Drug Lawyers Can Help

The drug defense lawyers at Hessler Law understand that you want to return to your family as quickly as possible. Whether this is your first addiction-related charge, or you’ve had multiple in the past, we can help you qualify for RWI. This will give you the best chance to regain your life.

Call the criminal attorneys at Hessler Law today at (317) 886-8800 or use our online contact form to reach out.